June 2014

Dustin Tripp

Membership Survey and Rates

As your Electric Cooperative, we strive to provide members with a very reliable and cost effective electric energy supply.  In order to see how well your Cooperative is performing, the membership is surveyed every two years to receive feedback regarding the service they receive.  The Cooperative also participates in a Residential Retail Rate Study with 24 other Electric Cooperatives in Illinois.  This month, I would like to share the results of the most recent member survey and Residential Retail Rate Study.

Every few years, the Cooperative membership is surveyed by an independent survey firm in order to determine what areas of our operation need improvement. In the summer of 2013, 997 survey questionnaires were mailed to randomly selected members of SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative, in all 280 completed surveys were returned for a completion rate of 28.1%.   In addition, an ACSI satisfaction-only telephone survey was conducted including interviews with 250 members. Respondents were dispersed throughout the service territory with responses from 41 different zip codes.

These results revealed an increase in overall satisfaction with 89% of members being satisfied with the Cooperative.  The American Customer Satisfaction Index responses resulted in a score of 85.  In comparison, the average Illinois Electric Cooperative score was 81 while investor-owned utilities had a score of 77 and municipal utilities had a score of 76.  The survey respondents gave the Cooperative the highest ratings for delivering reliable electric service, having knowledgeable employees, excellent customer service and prompt outage response.  While these numbers are very good, your Cooperative will continue to strive to improve the level of service members receive.

The survey revealed that 82% of members said they prefer the Cooperative use lower cost generation, rather than renewables.  The survey also revealed that 84% of the membership would not be willing to pay more than 5% per month to use more renewable energy.  Nearly eight in ten of those responding say they are concerned about how potential future EPA regulations may affect their electric bills. Approximately 84% of the membership has taken steps to reduce energy consumption including turning off lights and other appliances when not in use, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, changing thermostat settings or installing programmable thermostats and by weatherizing their homes.

The use of electric water heaters is slightly lower than the last survey, but still holds the dominance market share at 79%, leading propane at 11% and natural gas at 8%.  Electricity also continues to be the primary home heating source, increasing to 55%, with propane at 22% and natural gas at 13% while remaining members heat with wood stoves, fireplace, etc.

Approximately 73% receive coop information from Co-op publications.  Just over three-fourths have Internet service, most of it high speed.  Interestingly, 16% use cell phones or mobile devices as their primary Internet connection.   Six in ten of those with Internet use social media, primarily Facebook.  Nearly 69% say they are interested in using social media for co-op communication, primarily for things like power outage updates.

Lastly, your Cooperative just received the results of the Residential Retail Rate Study for Illinois Electric Cooperatives.  I am pleased to inform you that your Cooperative’s standard residential retail rate was ranked the 3rd lowest out of 25 Electric Cooperatives in Illinois that participated in the study.

Your Cooperative remains committed to finding new and better ways to serve its members. Your Cooperative will continue to work diligently to improve and enhance the level of service and reliability that you receive while keeping rates as affordable as possible.


See you next month and as always, "We'll keep the lights on for you."